If all the world’s a stage, the workplace is no exception. An increasing number of businesses and their leaders are finding that lessons and techniques learned by the UK’s brightest acting talent are invaluable to maximising their own performance.
Charlie Walker-Wise at RADA in Business says brilliant communication in business can be learnt. Practice and rehearsal, as well as engaging an audience and delivering an effective story are skills that both the best actors and business people need to achieve success.
Practice makes perfect
When working under pressure, we may fail to have the desired effect on our audience.
The ability to deliver the perfect performance every time, regardless of the situation or what else is happening around you, only comes with practice and training. Actors not only learn their lines but also make conscious choices about how they adapt their tone and story.
That’s a valuable skill for a business person given that they too need to perform, sometimes under challenging circumstances. The skill to reflect on a situation, in the moment, and adapt your style accordingly can make all the difference.
Getting your message across
Good communication skills are vital for any business situation. They are essential to forming strong personal connections and effective business relationships.
With the growth of digital communication, some of these skills aren’t getting a huge amount of practise.
A substantial amount of business is customer and client facing and it is essential to be confident and relaxed when communicating face to face.
A key to success is not only understanding yourself and what message you are trying to get across, but also understanding your audience, who you’re talking to and what motivates or moves them.
Learning to adapt your performance and tailor what you do or say to make a strong connection with the other person is a real asset. Helping others to really hear what you say will make a difference to the quality of the business relationships you build, the credibility with which you communicate and your authority. In short, it hits your bottom line.
Knowing what you are meant to say in a pitch – like learning lines in a play – isn’t enough. It’s all in the delivery. The difference between success and failure is delivering it with impact, and in a way that resonates with your audience.
To be successful communicator at work, you need to spend time working on your delivery. How much time do you (honestly!) spend practising and rehearsing for those high stakes business moments?
If you can, it will increase your chance of success.
Be a storyteller
Learning the power of stories is another highly effective technique. Actors understand how stories work and why we are so drawn to them, that stories serve different functions and uses: to entertain, to inform, to instruct, to unite.
Playing parts and telling stories is how we learn when we are children, but as we get older, that element of play and telling stories leaves us.
One of the most effective ways to motivate a team or influence people is to tell a story. If you can capture people’s imaginations and make them feel part of the narrative, they are more likely to truly engage with you.
But – once again – stories on their own aren’t enough. The substance must match the style and the process of rehearsal in theatre is making sure the how matches the what.
What a waste it would be if your brilliantly crafted message is lost because the delivery failed to capture the audience’s head and heart.